Illinois

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Information about biofuels and bioenergy in the state of Illinois in the United States.

Contents

Events

2011

2010

2009

2008

News

  • Department of Energy Announces up to $12 Million in Investments to Support Development and Production of Drop-In Biofuels, 31 August 2011 by EERE News: "In support of the Obama Administration's comprehensive efforts to strengthen U.S. energy security, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $12 million to fund three small-scale projects in Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Carolina that aim to commercialize novel conversion technologies to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals."
    • "The projects, funded through DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, seek to accelerate research and development that will lead the way toward affordable, clean alternatives to fossil fuels and diversify our nation's energy portfolio."
    • "Thermochemical processes use heat and catalysts to convert biomass, in a controlled industrial environment, into liquid and gaseous intermediates—or substances formed as a necessary stage in manufacturing an end product—which can then be chemically converted into fuels and other products."[1]
  • Testing the Water for Bioenergy Crops, 31 August 2011 by the U.S. News : "Energy researchers and environmental advocates are excited about the prospect of gaining more efficient large-scale biofuel production by using large grasses like miscanthus or switchgrass rather than corn."
    • "They have investigated yields, land use, economics and more, but one key factor of agriculture has been overlooked: water."
    • "Miscanthus and switchgrass have a very different above-ground foliage structure from corn—more surface area and much denser growth."
    • "This is good for maximizing the amount of biomass that an acre of land can produce, said Praveen Kumar, an environmental engineer and atmospheric scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but it also increases water use."
    • "The result of large-scale adoption would be a reduction in soil moisture and runoff, but an increase in atmospheric humidity."
    • "In the U.S. Midwest, rainfall should remain sufficient to meet water demand, according to Kumar. However, areas that rely on irrigation could find they have less water to meet higher demands, which could increase the net cost of large-scale land conversion and put pressure on already stressed water resources."[2]
  • Grasses Have Potential as Alternate Ethanol Crop, Illinois Study Finds, 1 November 2010 by Science Daily: "Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed the first extensive geographic yield and economic analysis of potential bioenergy grass crops in the Midwestern United States."
    • "[F]ederal regulations mandate that 79 billion liters of biofuels must be produced annually from non-corn biomass by 2022. Large grasses, such as switchgrass and miscanthus, could provide biomass with the added benefits of better nitrogen fixation and carbon capture, higher ethanol volumes per acre and lower water requirements than corn."
    • "Switchgrass is large prairie grass native to the Midwest, and Miscanthus, a sterile hybrid, is already widely cultivated in Europe as a biofuel crop."
    • "The team published its results in the October issue of the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy."
    • "The researchers found that, in general, the yield is very high for miscanthus -- up to three times higher than switchgrass in the Midwest. Even through switchgrass is native to the region, it doesn't grow well in higher latitudes like Minnesota or Wisconsin because it has poor tolerance for cold temperatures."
    • "Most notably, for the southernmost counties -- much of southern Illinois and nearly all of Missouri -- the model predicts greater production of grasses than of current corn and soy crops. This could be a key factor in farmers' decisions to cultivate biofuel crops."
    • "Unlike annual crops that provide a farmer with a crop every year, miscanthus and switchgrass require a lag of at least two years before harvesting."[3]
  • Argonne, UChicago researchers pursue grasses as Earth-friendly biofuel, 21 July 2008 by WebWire: "While crops with high starch or sugar contents -- most notably corn grain and sugarcane -- are the focus of current bioenergy applications, botanists have also seen potential in perennial grasses."
    • "As part of an effort to develop a new collection of alternative fuels," scientists from the "U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago have planted seven different combinations of native Midwestern prairie grasses [on a] 13-acre site at Fermilab’s campus" in Illinois.
    • "DOE began to consider perennial forage crops as possible sources of alternative fuels during the oil crisis of the late 1970s and early 1980s."
    • The researchers "are seeking to determine which grasses produce high yields of harvestable biomass while also pumping the most carbon underground through root growth. When roots die and decompose, some carbon is sequestered in soil organic matter, and nutrients such as nitrogen are recycled to sustain future plant growth."
    • The research is part of the DOE "Consortium for Research on Enhancing Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems" (CSiTE)."[4]

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